Facebook VP Joel Kaplan to appear before Parliamentary Committee on IT today to discuss safeguarding citizens on its platform

Facebook Vice President Joel Kaplan is all set to meet the Indian Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology in New Delhi today.

The idea behind the meeting is to discuss what safety measures will be taken by Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to protect citizen’s rights across these platforms, especially keeping in mind the upcoming general elections.

Ajit Mohan, vice president and managing director of Facebook, India, and Ankhi Das, director (Public, Policy and Programmes) will accompany Kaplan, according to IANS. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg will not be present before the panel.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Last month, Colin Cromwell, the global vice president (Public Policy) of Twitter had appeared before the Anurag Thakur-led panel on 25 February. Cromwell spoke about how Twitter would address the issue of political bias and manipulation on its platform.

Facebook VP will be grilled on its plans around the upcoming elections as well. Considering the Russian interference in the US Presidential elections was a major faux pas in Facebook’s history, it has been on the radar of every country that is approaching elections, to prevent any kind of manipulation by external actors on its platform.

WhatsApp has been in the eye of the storm in India for the last couple of years. It has been weaponised to spread fake news which has had real-life consequences. Last year, false information around child abductors spread on its platform led to the lynchings of over 30 innocent Indian citizens. Post the Pulwama attacks too, we have seen WhatsApp being used as a prominent platform to spread hate.

Facebook has around 300 million users in India, the highest in the world. WhatsApp has around 200 million users here and Instagram has 75 million users. These are big numbers and the parliamentary panel wants Facebook VP to ensure these platforms aren’t misused in any way.

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